Saturday, January 10, 2009

Memories of Mam-ma

I have wanted to take pictures of this house for a while now. 
Every time I pass by, it calls to me.  

I wonder what life was like here?  Were there children running and playing?  I imagine the sound of the screen door slamming and momma yelling.  I can hear the sound of booted footsteps walking off this porch, going out to do a days work and then the shuffling of tired feet coming home in the evening.

This old house was built sometime in the 1920's, I suspect.  It looks hard and lonely to me.  Perched high on a hill with no trees for shade or comfort.  The area is surrounded by cotton fields and I try picture the couple who lived here.  

Were his shoulders broad and strong and his leg like iron from driving the mule to plow the land.  I wonder if she was use to this kind of environment or if this was like a foreign land to her?  Her skin weathered from the harsh realities of too much sun.  Cold wind out of the north blowing at the back door and to the west the hot, dry, dusty spring wind, sweeping this years' crop by.  

It tells of days gone by and hard times. 
Fought by the toughest of those among us.

Maybe they carved out a life for themselves and their family here.  Maybe, the genius of it's location came in the summer.  When the breeze from the south ushered in blessed relief from the west Texas heat.  Maybe they sat on this old front porch and listened to the sounds of crickets and watch as the fire-flies danced by, laughing at the simple joys of life, resting in the contentment that came with putting in a good, honest hard day in the fields.

I remember spending summers with Mam-maw and Pappaw.  They lived in a house built in the 1920's.  It was two story, with electricity but no running water.  I remember her scolding me if I even looked at the well when she drew water.  And yes, the out house was out back.  

My grandmother raised three boys and my dad was the middle son.  
They tell of the story when they went to town and finally bought the new out-house that she had been dreaming of.  They brought it home and then had to go somewhere so the boys were left to set it up.  My dad and his older brother fought over who was going to get to go in there first.  My dad was the second one to use that new out-house. 

When he got his chance to go, he decided that he was going to smoke a cigarette.  So he rolled up a vine something and smoked it.    While he was in there burning that vine he heard 
Mam-ma and Papaw drive up.  He hurriedly put it out and ran outside, acting like nothing had happened.  Later that evening, Mam-ma, excited to finally get to use her brand new out-house, stepped out on the back porch, to the site that she has never forgotten since as she watched that brand new out-house burn to the ground. 

I love the simple life they had back then or at least the idea of it.  Not that I would want to go back and live in those times.  God put us here in times such as these for a purpose.    

We heated water on the stove to warm the bath water, poured it into an old number 2 wash tub and took our baths on the back porch.  Now that was fun for us kids, but I bet it was cold in the winter.  Burrrr.  And we drank water out of a ladle from one of those white porcelain buckets with red trim.  At least that what hers looked like. 

In the mornings I would wake up to no one in the house and run, calling her name all the way through to the back porch, much the same way my granddaughter, Sarah, does today. I remember stepping out-side in my red satin 'little girl' pajamas and hearing her call me from the barn.

  I remember the dew on the grass as I ran down the hill to help her.  I didn't help milk the cow to much, she said she was afraid they might kick me, could be she was afraid I might turn the bucket over. I was a town girl, after all.  I think she let me one time but I couldn't get much milk out and soon ran off to do other things.  I remember her gathering fresh eggs every morning and me being eager to reach up into that nest and pick one up for myself.  She warned me about the chicken snakes that might be up there.  

My best memory of her was during one of the summers I spent at the farm.  I was the mud pie queen and I made mud pies, everywhere.  And her dirt was the best.  She had a mean rooster that summer and she warned me about that rooster.  

I'm beginning the get the picture that I required a lot of warnings.

But, I had to make mud pies.  It was mid morning, she was in the kitchen getting lunch ready when I came running by as fast as my feet would take me, which was pretty fast if fear was involved.  That rooster was right on my heels.  She hit that back door and I'm not exactly sure how she did it but that rooster was no longer chasing me.  I think he became very afraid for his life.  If I remember correctly, we had fried chicken that night.  Yep, she rung that roosters neck!.  I sat on the back porch and waited for her to come out of the chicken coop.  I asked her what happened and she said and I quote, "that rooster won't ever chase you again"!  

Mam-ma's favorite scripture is John 14:1-4

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going." 

Our family's sweet matriarch is turning 98 this February, I didn't realize this was going to be a story about her or I would have posted her picture here.  If someone knows how to do that after entering the text please let me know.  

I am grateful that my fore-mothers knew how to love their children.  These women through perseverance passed down a legacy of love that I strive to pass down to my children and watch with approval as they pass it on to theirs.  

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19     


Dawn Jenkins said...

Jerri...that was beautifully written. I felt like I just read a New York Times Best Seller. WOW! Thank you for the scripture...I needed that tonight. The latter part of this week has been kind of rough. I needed to hear that promise. I would like to meet your Mam-Maw.

Sherry said...

What wonderful Maw-ma memories. I love old homes and my imagination always wonders away to a time in the past. I remember at my grandma's doing some of those same things...feeding chickens, the cows chasing me and my grandma yelling "drop the bucket".

I think that you can go to edit post and add the picture....she sounds like a sweet special person!

Thanks for praying for our Babydoll, we just got home from the hospital and he has more color and seems a little bit happier...and seems to be resting better.

Farmchick said...

Hi-I just hopped over here from Petticoats and Spurs...I really enjoyed reading your post. I grew up on a farm and all my grandparents were farmers.(and I married a farmer too) I can relate. My grandparents even had the white porcelain with red trim ladle....but it hung on the wall by the sink in their mudroom. We all drank out of it though and that seemed like a lot of fun at the time. I have that ladle hangig on my wall now though we don't drink out of it! Hope you can drop by and visit me sometime.

a cowgirl at heart said...

I love the pictures of the old house. I love taking random pictures like that. I like looking for things that have potential like that old house. The words were beautiful, too. I have many memories similar to the ones you retold.

a cowgirl at heart said...

I forgot to tell you...if you want to add a picture after all of the text here's how...first, add your picture like you normally would. Then, switch from Compose to HTML mode. You will see the picture turn into code (basically just gibberish). Copy and Cut the code and then scroll down to where you want it in your post and paste it there. Before you save it, switch back to compose mode and check to see if it looks the way you want it to. Good luck!

Antique Mommy said...

That is a sad house. I has a sadness about it apart from the fact that it's falling down. I think a house without a tree is just sort of a sad and lonely thing for some reason. Lovely post.

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